ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish youth tragically took his own life a few days after winning a regional award for his musical talents.
Rehat Hama-Aziz, an 18-year-old clarinet player from the Kurdistan Region’s city of Halabja, committed suicide on Wednesday in his home.
His death comes as shocking news to those familiar with him, especially after he was brought to the spotlight when receiving the Rwanga Award for the category of Solo Music.
“Rwanga Foundation is deeply saddened to hear the unexpected news about Rehat Hama-Aziz’s passing away. Rehat was a very talented young man and the first place winner of our 5th Annual Rwanga Awards, for the category of Solo Music. We send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” the organization said in a statement released on Thursday.
The subjects of mental health, depression, and suicide remain sensitive and, at times, taboo in the Kurdistan Region.
A day after winning the award, Rehat bought a rope after which his father, Hama-Aziz, informed authorities to seek help on the matter, fearful his son had suicidal thoughts. Together, they convinced Rehat to try and get help, a family member told Kurdistan 24.
The following day, Rehat headed to class at the Sulaimani Fine Art Institute, but returned home and took his own life that afternoon after gathering his musical instruments and performing in his room, his family said.
“Rehat had so many plans in his mind and wanted to win other international musical awards,” Hama-Aziz explained. “He was a very sensitive person, and I still don’t know the reason that drove him to end his life.”
His classmates and instructors shared their views of the talented youth, which they believed would graduate to become one of the best musicians in the world.
“He had many big projects. He had so many great ideas in mind. Every time he was playing music, you could just picture his bright future,” Hawar Jabar, the head of the Music Department at the Sulaimani Fine Art Institute, told Kurdistan 24.
“Rehat planned to play music along with his colleagues to impress his instructors all, and we were all waiting for that day, but unfortunately, we couldn’t see that day,” Hoshyar Hassan, the General-Director of Sulaimani Fine Art Institute, told Kurdistan 24.
Police have already begun investigating the incident.
Access to mental health care and help in the Kurdistan Region is underdeveloped but awareness around the issue has been growing.
Editing by Nadia Riva